Gov't announces €950 mil. in bailouts for Culture, Agriculture sectors

Windmills and flowers
Windmills and flowersPhoto: lsantilli/DepositPhotos

The Dutch government made a total of 950 million euros in extra support available for the cultural sector and parts of the agricultural sector. 300 million euros was made available to support crucial institutions in the culture sector through the hardest months of the coronavirus crisis, and for the sector to start investing in the coming season. And a total of 650 million euros was set aside to compensate the flower sector, specific parts of food horticulture, and the fries potatoes sector for damage suffered by the Covid-19 outbreak, the Ministries involved announced.

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science is pleased with the extra money for the cultural sector. "Culture matters. It is precisely in this time of crisis that it becomes clear how important art is: to offer comfort, distraction and hope," she said. "The cabinet is also aware of this and is therefore making extra money available on top of the generic measures."

The 300 million euros package is mainly aimed at "supporting institutions that are essential for the sector as a whole", Van Engelshoven said. "By supporting these crucial cultural organizations now, they can ensure that the flow of assignments, also towards freelancers, will get going after the crisis." 

According to Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, this new bailout package in the agricultural sector is for sectors that "were not helped by the emergency package that the cabinet previously implemented". This includes the flower sector, certain parts of the food horticulture sector, and the sector that grows potatoes for fries. "We are dealing here with companies that are in a unique position. You cannot stop growing crops. In addition, the companies deal with products that do not have a long shelf life and that are difficult or impossible to process. And there are companies that have peak sales in the months of March, April and May. With these schemes, we enable many companies to absorb the biggest blows."

The Ministry made 600 million euros available for damage settlements in the floriculture and specific components of the food horticulture sectors. This is for companies experiencing a sharp drop in turnover. The aim is that companies will bear 30 percent of turnover loss, and the government will compensate "a significant part of the remaining 70 percent of the damage".

The French fires potato sector will be compensated for the amount of fries potatoes they still have in storage. This compensation is for potatoes that can no longer be processed into fries this season and amounts to 40 percent of the average market value for the period September 2019 to February 2020, according to the Ministry. A total of 50 million euros is available for this.